Amanda J. Bennett, Andrew Mead, John M. Whipps
Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK.
Beneficial microorganisms (Clonostachys rosea IK726, Pseudomonas chlororaphis MA342, Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0, Trichoderma harzianum T22 and Trichoderma viride S17a) were successfully applied to carrot and onion seed during a commercial drum priming process. Applied microorganisms were recovered above the target of at least 1 × 105 cfu g−1 seed following subsequent application of pesticides to the seed according to standard commercial practices of film-coating carrot and pelletting onion seed. Two glasshouse experiments consistently showed that priming improved emergence of carrot seed and that C. rosea IK726 further improved emergence time. Priming improved emergence of onion seed in one glasshouse experiment, but had an unexpected negative effect on emergence in the second experiment, possibly due to the proliferation of an unidentified indigenous microorganism during priming, becoming deleterious in high numbers. In this experiment, the application of beneficial microorganisms during priming negated this effect and significantly improved emergence. For each crop, a series of field trials was also carried out over three years, at two different sites each year. Although some positive effects of different seed treatments were seen on emergence or yield in individual field trials, no consistent effects were found for primed or microorganism-treated seed across all sites and years. However, a combined analysis of data for all years and sites indicated that pesticide application did consistently improve emergence and yield for both carrot and onion. This is the first comprehensive study assessing glasshouse and field performance of carrot and onion seed primed with beneficial microorganisms during a commercial process of drum priming in the UK.